The Arizona Diamondbacks have gotten some really nice production from first baseman Christian Walker.
For the season, he is hitting a cool .274/.313/.533 with nine home runs and a 122 wRC+.
That comes after a year in which he had 36 round-trippers.
Offensively, he has been among the best first baseman in the National League, at least in 2022 and 2023.
He has been the best.
Again, the numbers don’t lie.
Christian Walker has been a force on defense for the @Dbacks 🔒 pic.twitter.com/5tLHldMBAu
— MLB Now (@MLBNow) May 11, 2023
DRS means Defensive Runs Saved and OAA is Outs Above Average.
Both are the most widely used defensive metrics in the league at the moment.
The latter feeds from Statcast data.
Both paint a useful picture of how good (or bad) a player has been on defense relative to the league average.
In both cases, Walker ranks first among first basemen since 2019.
That’s four seasons and the first month (almost a month-and-a-half) of the 2023 campaign.
The sample is large enough to conclude that Walker is as good on defense as he is on offense, if not better.
It’s certainly a welcomed development not only for the team as a whole, but especially for pitchers.
Having a solid first baseman is always desirable.
The D-Backs are riding Walker’s excellent two-way performance to a solid 20-17 record so far in 2023.
They are blossoming into a sneaky contender, even if their roster is still not nearly as good as the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Diego Padres.
Little by little, they are seeing how their young players develop into real contributors.
Walker is there to give advice and lead by example.NEXT: Christian Walker Is Carrying The Diamondbacks In May